Newlywed life is pretty great. You just married the love of your life, most likely honeymooned somewhere amazing and now can look forward to spending the rest of your lives together. At some point, most newlyweds hit the “so now what” point. No need to feel lost…here’s a list of newlywed to-do’s to keep you moving forward in marital bliss.
Newlywed To Do #1: Make a Name Change Decision
Now that you’re a newlywed, one or both of you have the option to change your name. Discuss your thoughts on the topic and then make a decision together. The longer you wait to change your name (if that is your plan) the more places you will need to change it. As a newlywed you’re going to end up merging a few accounts and creating new ones. Having the name you intend to have for life prior to making those changes will save you the time and stress of having to change your name on both old and new accounts. If you’re overwhelmed with all the places you need to change your name, use the MissNowMrs online name change service to go from Miss to Mrs. in minutes!
Newlywed To Do #2: Merge Bank/Insurance Accounts
Now that’ you’re an official “household” you can use your newlywed status to score discounted rates on home, health and auto insurance! Do a little research to see what company offers the best deal and then delegate who changes what and who pays what. I suggest separate bank accounts and a joint savings account as a key way to keeping a happy marriage, but if one of you is a financial wiz, you may elect to merge all of your bank accounts.
Newlywed To Do #3: Handle the Holidays
Holidays (much like weddings) bring out the best and worst in families. Putting together a plan of where you will be for each holiday, and ideally which holiday you’ll host in your home, will help you navigate the holidays as newlyweds and set the tone for future family celebrations. Just “going with the flow” is a great way to enter holiday hell, upset family members on both sides and miss the true reason for whatever season you’re in.
Newlywed To Do #4: Create a 5 Year Plan
You’re newlyweds and the world is your oyster. Now is the time to decide what is important to you both and where you want to be in five years. Do you want to own your own home, get a secondary degree, purchase a pet, have children or travel the world in the next five years? The answers to these questions will help you map out your finances and goals. It’s such an exciting time…make the most of it and make sure you end up where you want to. You’re in charge of your happily ever after!
Looking for name change advice or some tips for newlywed life? The MissNowMrs experts have created state-specific name change articles and checklists for you. We’ve chronicled our recommendations for how to travel while changing your name AND how to handle voting during the transition.
We’ve also compiled our best guidance for how to handle difficult sister in laws, holidays as newlyweds, the ever-annoying baby questions, and much more. Why? Because, while we are name change experts, we’re also newlywed wives, moms, and sisters.
We hope our name change advice articles help smooth your transition to your new name, and a whole new phase of life. Congratulations and best wishes from the entire MissNowMrs team!
As your wedding day approaches, gifts from family and friends begin pouring in…hooray! You’ll also start receiving wedding checks. Monetary gifts are wonderful, as they allow you to purchase exactly what you want/need for married life, but they can occasionally cause trouble at the bank.
Well-meaning relatives LOVE to write checks to Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Which is great, if you’re planning to change your name to Jones, but what if you’re hyphenating or not changing your name after marriage, or if your spouse is taking your name?
Name change does make cashing wedding checks tricky, but if you both set up a joint bank account before your wedding, most banks will allow you to sign the checks and deposit them regardless of what versions of your names appear on the check. If a check is made out to both you and your spouse, make sure that you both sign the back of it.
If you run into a clerk that is a stickler for the rules, you can wait to deposit the check until you can present a certified copy of your marriage certificate. The other solution? Use the ATM machine to deposit your checks. I deposited wedding checks written to my maiden, married and misspelled last names with zero issues!
Wedding Check Deposit Tips:
1. Create a joint bank account BEFORE your wedding
2. If a wedding check is made out to both of you, make sure that you both sign it before depositing
3. You can use your certified marriage certificate to deposit checks made out to your married name
4. When all else fails…use the ATM machine for your wacky wedding check deposits!
Once the excitement of the wedding is over and the reality of living together as newlyweds sets in, getting your financial house in order is an absolute must. Finding the right place to start, though, can be overwhelming. These tips can help.
Where are You?
One of the first things you may want to do is understand exactly where you’re at. This should involve looking at what the two of you make each month, then making a detailed list of expenses that you’ll need to deal with. Don’t forget to factor in things like groceries, transportation expenses (bus passes, subway fare, or gas) and day to day living expenses. This process should not only help you understand what you have coming in, but also identify any spots where you’re wasting money as well.
New Financial Needs
In addition to thinking about what you’re already spending money on, you may also have new financial needs to consider. For example, now that the two of you are married, do you need to apply for new health insurance together? What about life insurance? If your spouse has a child, are there childcare expenses you hadn’t previously considered? Add all of those into your monthly budget as well.
Set Both Short and Long Term Goals
Lots of couples just move like zombies from month to month without really planning for their goals, but look ahead five years, then look ahead ten years. Where do you want to be together as a couple? Do you want to own a home? Do you plan to have children? Are there investments you need to make right away? Looking down the line a bit will help you set aside money for the future each month.
Flexibility and Fun
Once you set your financial goals, though, don’t assume they’re set in stone forever. Make sure you both reevaluate at least once a year, but maybe even every six months to ensure you’re on track to meeting your dreams and dealing with the reality of financial life together. Also, make sure there’s a little room in your budget for fun. Your first years as newlyweds should be spent making memories that will last a lifetime…so be sure to add a vacation or life experience to your list of goals!
The holiday season is here and that means many things. Happy music, good food, great friends, and fun-filled gathers are certainly on the long list of things that come with this time of year. Unfortunately, though, not all thoughts are happy during this season. While giving a gift to a person you love is undeniably wonderful, paying for it isn’t always so easy. If you are like millions of Americans who are finding it more and more difficult to set aside money during this economic downturn, then this might be a good time to consider budgeting for the upcoming shopping spree.
Step One: What Do You Have to Spend? The first step in budgeting for anything is to look closely at what you can afford. What are you bringing in each month and what is being sent back out the door for bills, utilities, mortgage, loans, etc? Once you have a clear picture of what is left over and what you might already have stocked away, you can move on to step two.
Step Two: How Far Does it Have to Go? The money that you have accounted for will likely have to cover all holiday spending. This is something that many people overlook, and therefore, those people end up spending more than they planned by the time the first of the new year rolls around. Stop to make a list of everything that you will need to buy for the holiday season – wrapping paper, ingredients for dishes to pass, decorations, etc. This list should also include the names of everyone you need to have presents for (don’t forget his side of the family). When your list is complete, move on to step three.
Step Three: Allotting For Each Category With your list in hand, you can begin to break down the money that you have budgeted, dividing it up by categories – food, gifts, accessories – and then within each category. At the end of this step you should know approximately how much you can spend on a gift for each person on the list. Keep in mind that you will generally spend more money of gifts for a spouse than you would on a gift for a friend. Those distinctions really matter and will allow your budget to be stretched more efficiently. Create a chart with the names of each person and the budgeting allowance for the gift. Label a third column as ‘money actually spent’ so you can keep close track of how you are doing during the shopping process.
Do you have a holiday budget or wish that you did? We’d love to hear your solutions for shopping smartly this season!
A huge percentage of couples who wind up divorcing do so over finances. In fact a study done by Utah State University in 2009 reported that couples who argued over money at least once a week were over 30% more likely to get divorced than those who only disagreed about money once or twice a month. Those who argued over finances almost every day were over 100% more likely to get divorced than those couples who were able to agree over their checkbook. So if money is the root of all evil, at least in terms of marriages, how can you and your new spouse avoid this marriage pitfall?
Make a Plan
The only way that you can fight back against falling apart due to money is to have a plan. It doesn’t matter if you have only one income coming in, or two, it’s vital that you both are able to put together a plan that works for the household. And it’s actually a very easy thing to do. The first thing that you should do is to figure out how much money you’ve got coming in, and how much you’ve got going out. Sit down together and add up how much money you bring home in a month. You then simply take all of the monthly recurring bills that you have and subtract them. Things like cable or internet or cell phone or rent are all things that should be deducted, one at a time, so that you can see how much money you have left at the end of the month. You can also estimate how much you spend a week for things like groceries and gas, and can deduct this amount as well.
The money that you have left over at the end of the money is the “play” money. This is the money that you both need to decide how to use. Some couples opt to give each other a stipend each week that they can spend however they want, while others simply pool the money into one big pile and use it how they see fit. What’s important is that you decide, together, what you want to do.
It’s also important that you decide who pays the bills. Some couples like to sit down and to do them together, while others prefer that one couple be responsible. Even if only one person is actually making the payments, both of you should know what’s going on, so if you’re the bill payer, make sure you tell your spouse when you’re paying this bill or that bill. This way both of you know where the money is going each month. And most importantly of all: no secrets. If your finances are strained, tell your spouse. Tips like these will help to keep money from becoming the big evil that so many couples see it as.
How have you solved your financial situation as newlyweds? Do you have anything to add to this post?